Guilty verdicts in Bergeron murder

A man accused in a 2011 drive-by shooting in Carlyss was convicted of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder Wednesday evening.

A jury took an hour to find David Caleb Fontenot, 23, guilty in the death of 20-year-old Stephin Wayne Bergeron. Fontenot, who took the stand in his own defense, also shot at another man, Chance Bourgeois, who was with Bergeron, along La. 27. Sentencing is set for April 23.

Bergeron was shot three times, in the head, the torso and the leg, Calcasieu Coroner Terry Welke testified. The shots to the head and torso were fatal injuries, Welke said.

“I knew he was guilty,” Christina Bergeron, Stephin Bergeron’s mother, said. “I just don’t know how to feel. There’s no justice. It’s justice that he’s going to jail, but it doesn’t bring my son back.”

Stephin Bergeron and another man, Devin Badon, argued April 13, 2011, because Bergeron believed Badon was giving drugs to his ex-girlfriend, Brenna Ledoux, according to trial testimony. Badon was with his girlfriend, Nikita Julian, and Fontenot throughout that day.

At about 10:30 p.m., Fontenot shot at Bergeron and Bourgeois from La. 27, striking Bergeron three times and killing him. Fontenot fired from a white truck that belonged to Badon, while Badon and Julian followed in her maroon truck, according to testimony.

Fontenot took the stand after his attorney, Robert Shelton, and Judge Kent Savoie both asked him repeatedly, outside the presence of the jury, whether he understood the risks. “He insists that he wants to tell his side of the story,” Shelton said.

Several witnesses put Fontenot as the driver of Badon’s white Ford truck all day April 13, 2011, while Badon and Julian drove around in her maroon Chevy pickup.

Fontenot said he was the driver most of the day, but returned the truck to Badon that evening, when Julian’s truck had to be returned home at a certain time.

He, Badon and Julian had traveled to Lake Charles and a Ruth Street bar named Hurricane Willies in separate trucks, Fontenot said.

Fontenot said when he went to the house of his cousin, Heather Fontenot, in Lake Charles that evening to drop off his information for food stamps, he also picked up his gun, because Badon wanted to go shooting in Johnson Bayou.

Heather Fontenot also testified that Badon had dropped off information to her, and picked up his belongings.

David Fontenot said he loaded the gun for Badon in the Walmart parking lot, although he didn’t believe Badon when he said he didn’t know how to load the weapon. It was at Walmart that Fontenot first learned of the argument between Badon and Bergeron, Fontenot said.

As they traveled back to Choupique, Fontenot decided he needed cigarettes and waved the other truck down. Badon told him they would get cigarettes for him when they took Julian’s truck home.

When Badon and Julian returned 30 to 40 minutes later, Badon said he thought he had shot someone, Fontenot said. Julian was panicking, shaking and “white as a ghost,” he said.

Badon ran around one side of the garage in which he lived, then came back, Fontenot said. Fontenot, who said he planned to go to a strip club that night, said he believed Badon was “playing” and left to return keys to Kenneth Kellum Jr., whose truck he had borrowed earlier in the week. Fontenot claimed it was Ledoux who informed him that Badon shot Bergeron.

When he got to Kellum’s he asked for a fresh shirt because his was wet and told Kellum that Badon wished to use Kellum’s truck to get out of town, Fontenot said.

Kellum testified that when Fontenot came to his house, he told him there had been a fight at Hurricane Willies.

When other vehicles began pulling in the yard, Fontenot said it was probably the cops, Kellum said.

When Fontenot asked for a shirt to change into, Kellum obliged, but declined Fontenot’s request to borrow his truck, Kellum said.

Fontenot was arrested at Kellum’s.

Fontenot said Kellum was lying about a fight at Hurricane Willies and that Julian was lying when she testified that he was the shooter. He also said a friend from Ville Platte, Toys Tables O’Neil, was lying when he said he bought the gun for himself. Fontenot said he gave O’Neil the money for the gun because he was too young to purchase a weapon.

“I’d say I was in jail for something I didn’t have anything to do with,” Fontenot said.

Prosecutor Rick Bryant said he was “very much” surprised that Fontenot took the stand. He had no idea what Fontenot was going to say, Bryant said.

“He put himself completely away from the scene, but he’s had a long time to prepare and he was smart enough to tailor his own defense,” Bryant said.

The gun and bullets were found the next morning over the fence from the property where Badon lived, crime scene investigator Sandra Gibson said. The gun was loaded and had a clip in it, she said.

The gun was matched to spent bullet casings from the crime scene, Charles Watson, firearms expert, said.

Darrell Pettefer, the son of the owner of Jerry’s Marine, said authorities called him to the business the night of April 13, 2011, to review security tapes.

A short video played in court showed a white truck and a dark truck passing by the business, and a man running along the fence, but most of the video could not be properly transferred to disc, Pettefer said.

Video viewed at Jerry’s Marine was very clear, Pettefer said. He said it showed two men walking from the north side of the business and approaching a white truck and a dark truck parked across the street. The trucks drove off, and the two people could be seen waving their arms. They walked back across the road and crossed the ditch.

As the trucks drove back, the white truck stopped and a flash emitted from the cab, Pettefer said. One person began running south and the other disappeared, Pettefer said. The white truck then headed north on La. 27 and the dark truck turned around on the road and headed south.

Badon and Julian were lying on a bed in the garage in which Badon lived when they were arrested, said Rick Daughenbaugh with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office.

A grand jury declined to indict Julian, and Badon pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in June 2012.

Shelton declined to comment.

The state called 26 witnesses, while the defense called the defendant and recalled Bourgeois.